Do you remember what you were doing in August 2016? Probably not thinking about how you would be spending the next February. However that is when my incredible interviewees Anna Tauber and Klara Weismann started the project of organising a four day event which brought together more than 100 young people from all over Europe. Together with their organisation team they created a session those of us lucky enough to have been a part of will never forget. You may have spent the most time with your committee and your chairs or journalist, but without the organisation team the University of Vienna would have stayed empty apart from its few eagerest students and the Meininger hotel devoid of our cheerful chats and busy footsteps. I had the pleasure of speaking with the Head Organisers of the session to hear their perspective about it.
Introduce yourselves briefly.
Anna: I’m Anna, I’m 18 years old and I study business law at the business University of Vienna.
Klara: My name is Klara, I’m 20 years old. I go to the same university as Anna, we take some courses together and help each other with our studies.
When did you start EYP?
Klara: I started EYP two years ago at a regional session in my hometown Tulln. That is where Anna and I met. It was Anna’s first session as well. We were in the same committee and in the same room. That is when our friendship began.
Anna: But we never expected our EYP-based relationship to turn into something so valuable.
What has been your favourite session so far?
Klara: I have only been to two sessions before Vienna 2017: the regional session in Tulln and last year’s regional session in Vienna where I was an organiser. Of course this session is my favourite one. But in the future I would like to attend some more.
Anna: I haven’t been a delegate very often. I was a delegate at RISE (the 82nd international session of EYP in Rennes, France) this summer. It was my first international session. I pretty much loved it. I relived being a delegate after being an official for a couple of times. At an international session you reach the point where you realise why you are doing all of this, why you are putting so much work into EYP. Nevertheless I have to say that the regional session of Vienna 2017 has to be my favourite one. I gave all my heart into it.
What is your favourite role at a session?
Klara: I was only an organiser and a delegate. I would like to try being a journalist, but I am not very good at taking photos. I feel like organising is my position, my favourite one.
Anna: So far I was a delegate, an organiser and a chairperson. I would love to try being a journalist but my photographic skills aren’t that good either, I would have to improve them. I would like to do some intense chairing soon where I can work with the delegates for more than just one day. And I would like to be an organiser again, but not necessarily a head organiser. I wish to share my knowledge with new organisers and delegates and to learn from other teams, to see how they work.
Why did you decide to organise this session?
Anna: In August 2016 I was invited to head organise the session. I wasn’t quite sure whether I should apply at first, I was a bit scared because I just began studying at university. I also didn’t have a buddy. If I was going to do it I wanted to do it with a person I could fully trust and rely on. In the end I decided to take the chance and write the application.
Klara: I still remember the day when Anna called and asked me to be her co-HO. She asked me if I wanted to think about it and I just said: ˝No, let’s do it.˝
Anna: I made the best possible choice. Klara and I are counterparts which is really good for working together. We understand each other and we try our best to work together not merely as individuals. Our organisation team calls us ˝The Unity˝.
Describe your vision for this session.
Anna: We had many goals. One of them was to have as many delegates as possible and to provide them a platform where they could express their thoughts freely.
Klara: We also wanted to have a theme presented at the session which is a new concept for an Austrian regional session. We did not only choose sustainability, but also movement as in development and technology.
Was there any special behind the scenes moments you experienced with the organisation team?
Anna: That’s a hard one, because there were so many. One that comes to mind is an organising weekend in October. We were staying in a hut in the mountains. They had some animals there including alpacas. Instead of doing team building in the morning we ended up going to the zoo and petting all the animals. You can imagine the organising team of Vienna RS all spread out in the zoo petting the animals.
Klara: After that weekend our team was called the ˝Alpaca fans˝.
What has been the most challenging part?
Klara: The most challenging part for me was being in a position of leading many people because I have never done that before.
Anna: But you managed very well. We are both quite inexperienced in the field, but we put all our heart into this project and we hope that one can feel it in the session. My biggest worry was that we would not have enough people, but we are incredibly lucky for the help of the board members who are very driven and motivated. With their work they only give without receiving much in return. The hardest part was to establish good work coordination between us without overwhelming anyone.
Klara: I’m so proud of the team and we can definitely say that we stand behind this session.
Anna: It’s our baby.
What was your favourite part of the session?
Anna: The most amazing moment for me was general team building. Standing in the park in a circle with all the people who you know from name lists but you have never seen their faces. Being surrounded by all of the participants when it finally started was the most amazing moment for me.
Klara: For me as well, absolutely.
What has been the most important thing you have learnt from organising the session?
Anna: Having a person with whom you have to share every little detail with was hard for me because I am more of an individual worker. I am not a very open person but I had to learn to open up to my co-HO. There were hard times, times when we struggled with miscommunication. But in the end of the day, when we say something we both mean it. I know that she will always defend me and have my back.
Klara: That was so perfectly said I have nothing else to add.
By Dasa Pogorelec (SI)